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ELIAKIM BEN ASHER SELIG:

Polish Talmudic scholar; lived at Yampol in the eighteenth century. He was sent by the Polish Jews (1757) to Rome to defend them against the blood accusation, and presented a petition to Pope Benedict XIV., who commissioned Cardinal Ganganelli (later Pope Clement XIV.) to examine the case. The latter concluded in his report that the blood accusation was frivolous. Clement XIII., who had in the meantime succeeded Benedict XIV., dismissed Eliakim b. Asher with honor, and ordered Cardinal Corsini to recommend him in his name to Bishop Visconti of Warsaw. August III., King of Poland, issued in consequence a decree exculpating the Jews, stating that inability to prove the truth of the accusation rendered the accuser liable to capital punishment.

In Ganganelli's memoir, as well as in Corsini's letter of recommendation, the Jewish deputy is called "Jacob Selech" or "Selek" (Grätz, Fürst, and Levisohn have "Jacob Jelek"). He probably simplified his name designedly; but in a long letter which he wrote from Rome to Samuel Gallichi (probably the chief of the community) he calls himself "Eliakim b. Asher Selig of Yampol." In the same letter he stated that he met at Rome Rabbi Shabbethai Piana, with whom he discussed several rabbinical laws.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 391;
  • Isidore Loeb, in R. E. J. xviii. 179;
  • Mortara, in Educatore Israelita, x. 257-270;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 246-247;
  • Berliner's Magazin, xv. (Hebr. part) 9-14;
  • Fürst, in Orient, Lit. 1840, p. 38;
  • Levisohn, Efes Damim, p. 91, Warsaw, 1890.
H. R. M. Sel.
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